You had it all planned. You were going to prepare for the GMAT in April and May, take the GMAT on June 1, and absolutely crush the exam. The GMAT would be done, and you never would have crossed paths with the new Integrated Reasoning (IR) section. But then life got in the way. You had long long nights at work and you realized that the rest of the GMAT actually was pretty challenging by itself. Reluctantly, you are now looking at a test date of no earlier than the middle of June.
Now what? After all that you have read about how applicants who take the old GMAT will have a distinct advantage over those Next-Generation GMAT suckers, do you really think you stand a chance of breaking a 700 on the exam now that you must face the new Integrated Reasoning section?
Fortunately, not all is lost. Contrary to what some might think, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) did not create Integrated Reasoning in a drive to find a more fiendish question type. Integrated Reasoning does represent a new way that GMAC tries to measure your decision-making abilities and analytical skills, but it is not an entirely new exam.
Here are three reasons you don’t need to stress if you plan on taking the GMAT after June 5:
Integrated Reasoning does not impact your overall score.
Are you aiming for a 760+ score? Just trying to break 700? Whatever the case may be, how you do on Integrated Reasoning will have no impact on your overall score out of 800. Just like the Analytical Writing Assessment was (and will continued to be) scored, Integrated Reasoning will have its own scoring scale, in this on a 1 to 8 scale.
It will be a while before admissions officers put much stock in your Integrated Reasoning score.
Put yourself in admissions officers’ shoes… This fall, when they first see GMAT scores come in containing Integrated Reasoning scores, they are not going to be ready to admit or reject someone based on that single number. What’s a great score? What’s a mediocre score? They will be able to look at percentiles to help them gauge how much better a score of 7 is than a 6, but even those are not going to be a sure thing for a while. GMAC has announced that the scoring percentiles will be updated every month for the first six months, so even those normally trustworthy numbers may be in flux. The bottom line? Admissions officers have a lot of learning to do about what makes up a great IR score. Until they do develop that intuition, you can be sure it will only be a very minor factor in their admissions decision, if any at all.
If you prepare for the GMAT the right way, you do not need much additional preparation for Integrated Reasoning.
We have seen some specious arguments about how taking the Next Generation GMAT will require you to prepare much more for the exam than will the old section. First, this argument assumes that you were going to spend little to no time preparing for the soon-to-be-dropped Analysis of an Issue AWA essay, which is probably not true. Second, it misses a real important point that we have been making all along: If you study for the GMAT the right way, and go beyond memorizing content to actually train yourself in the higher-order thinking skills that business schools want to see, then you will not find the new IR section to be all that challenging. Veritas Prep students are already realizing this on their own, and many of them have said that they are in fact glad that they will take the new GMAT, because they “get” Integrated Reasoning and would rather do that section than another drab AWA essay.
So, before you contemplate fleeing the GMAT completely, know that Integrated Reasoning is not all that hard if you are prepared properly, it doesn’t matter that much if you do in fact do badly on it, and you may even find it to be fun!